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Sunshine, vitamin D and alpacas

January 24th, 2016 • By: jilladmin Alpacas, Herd health

Hi, everybody! It’s a beautiful January day here in Maine – the big blizzard missed us (for once), and it’s sunny, reasonably still and kinda warmish – we’re heading into the mid-20s today. So I did what every good alpaca owner would – I booted the kids out of the barn to make some vitamin D.

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Alpacas are a livestock animal that has been selected for centuries to live at high altitudes in the altiplano of South America. Living at such high altitude poses some challenges, and alpacas have developed some interesting ways to dealing with the conditions of their ancestral home. For one, they have elliptical, not round, red blood cells, to increase oxygen transport. They do not absorb many minerals well, particularly selenium, since they are in such abundance in the soils. And they also don’t make nearly as much vitamin D as animals that evolved closer to sea level – this prevents them from accumulating too much, given their increased exposure to UV light on the altiplano.

But my animals live in Central Maine, and if there’s one thing we don’t have enough of, it’s exposure to sunlight and opportunities for making vitamin D. While you might think this only holds true in the winter, most alpacas in most parts of the US don’t make enough vitamin D at any time of year. The consequences are easiest to see in cria, which may develop rickets with persistent deficiency, but even adult animals face lower fertility, decreased immune function and other side effects of too little vitamin D.

Many commercial alpaca feeds are fortified with vitamin D, but since young cria typically aren’t eating pellets yet, additional supplementation in for form of oral ADEB12 paste or injectable AD is highly recommended. We supplement our entire herd, year around, since they like hanging out inside so much. While it is difficult to give an alpaca too much vitamin D since they have such poor absorption, it can happen – so always follow recommended best practice for amount and frequency of dosing. Dr. Robert Van Saun has written an excellent article on vitamin D and camelids – check it out on pages 38-46 of the current issue of Suri Network’s PurelySuri magazine.

As for me, I’ll make my vitamin D trying to move some drifts with the tractor today.  Haran promises to keep a watchful eye on my progress…

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National Show Results

March 18th, 2014 • By: jilladmin Alpacas, Black, Brown, Fawn

Well, I’ve been a terrible blogger in the past, but we’ve been moving between two houses for the better part of three years, so a lot has fallen by the wayside. Bag End didn’t even attend any shows in 2013! But one house is on the market (lovely little property for livestock if you’re interested), and so we’re back with a bang – just got back from the AOA National Alpaca show in Harrisburg, PA. We took three juveniles, and all three placed. It was an honor to do so with the amazing alpacas in attendance.

BESAME Tára, a beautiful light fawn daughter of ATV Empressa and our own herdsire WRSR Peruvian Payday, took second in her class of light juveniles, and Jude Anderson was complimentary about her luster, fineness and her growth for her age. Tára is only nine months old, but she spent the entire time at the show literally trying to climb into an adjoining males’ pen – standing on the hay bale, climbing on my show box… Given how nice those boys were, I would have let her have an oops if she were only a little older! But I’m not looking forward to her antics all summer.

BESAME Radagast is a light brown son of Savannahlinn and Titan of PVA who is absolutely adorable with lovely fine and lustrous fiber, but he doesn’t have the lock definition to compete against more advanced fleeces. We love him anyway, fourth place finish in a class of four aside. His buddy BESAME Arin is a true black son of Blackbeard’s Treasure of Briar Rose and AABC Parker – Arin stood fifth in his class of seven, and placed above two very well respected programs. He needs to grow and gain some size and confidence, but I really am excited to see his regrowth.

It was a pleasure to be back showing, and we have the North American and MAPACA alpaca shows coming up in Springfield, MA and Harrisburg, PA, respectively. Come on out and cheer us on!

Suri roving available for sale

February 26th, 2012 • By: jilladmin Alpacas, Beige, Black, Fawn, White

Calling all spinners! Ever spun suri? Now’s your chance!  The mill just sent back some yummy 85% suri, 15% fine merino rovings in 100 yard bumps.  We have natural white (made from fiber graciously grown by Minno, Silly and Vírin), light fawn (Dutchess and Telwa contributing) and charcoal gray (the result of blending Stormy’s true black with white merino).

More information and how to order on our OpenHerd webstore page.  We also have a limited selection of raw fleeces remaining from our 2011 shearing, but don’t despair – this year’s crop is being sheared on May 10.

MAPACA results

April 9th, 2011 • By: jilladmin Accoyo Bloodlines, Alpacas, Brown, Full Peruvian, Males, White

The MAPACA Jubilee is always one of the most competitive shows for suris on the East Coast. Taking a ribbon here means a lot, and I am so pleased to report that our cria have had a great show. Both Kemen and Cali ribboned in the brown male juvenile class, with Kemen placing third and Cali fifth. We concentrate on our colored suri breeding program, so placing in the brown class is exactly what we hope to do.

What we didn’t think we had a hope of doing was placing in the white class. The white classes are always some of the most competitive, and we don’t breed for white. But our herdsire Payday is white, so we can expect white offspring from time to time, even from colored dams. We brought two of Payday’s white boys to this show, and they walked into the ring with ten other white males from some of the biggest farms on the East Coast – but they weren’t in the group that walked back out, once judge Wade Gease was finished his evaluation. Silima placed 5th and Minnónar 4th, although they could have as easily been switched in position, there’s so little difference between them. Both have blinding luster throughout their entire fleece – any place you pick to open has the same shine.

Payday would love to show your farm what he can do for you – come take a look at these great kids he has on the ground!

Smile! You’re in the newspaper

April 5th, 2011 • By: jilladmin Alpacas, Uncategorized

A staff photographer from the Springfield Republican apparently thought I had some pretty photogenic alpacas – and alpaca handlers – this past weekend at the North American Alpaca Show.


My vet’s daughter Evelyn with Silima; son Fox with Minno; and myself with Vírin.


Evelyn with Silima – look at that smile!


Fox with Judge Peter Kennedy inspecting Minno

Sunshine, vitamin D and alpacas

January 24, 2016
by: jilladmin • Alpacas, Herd health

National Show Results

March 18, 2014
by: jilladmin • Alpacas, Black, Brown, Fawn

Suri roving available for sale

February 26, 2012
by: jilladmin • Alpacas, Beige, Black, Fawn, White

MAPACA results

April 9, 2011
by: jilladmin • Accoyo Bloodlines, Alpacas, Brown, Full Peruvian, Males, White

Bluebird boxes

February 22, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized

How can you resist this face?

February 21, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized

Today’s egg-y goodness

February 1, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized

Goats!

January 31, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized

Bluebird boxes

February 22, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized

How can you resist this face?

February 21, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized

Today’s egg-y goodness

February 1, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized

Goats!

January 31, 2016
by: jilladmin • Uncategorized